As rampant violence plagues citizens across the island and the presence of the party drug, ecstasy, commonly known as Molly, becomes a fixture in the headlines, the Broadcasting Commission has announced an immediate ban on songs that promote illegal activity.
The announcement was made in a media release issued by the Cordel Green-led Commission on Tuesday and is to take immediate effect as their new directive requires broadcasters to halt the transmission of any audio or video that promotes or glorifies illicit activities. Such activities include scamming, whose practitioners in Jamaican lingo are often referred to as, “choppas” and have used this to popularise the scheme in the dancehall culture.
Additionally, glorification of the illegal use of drugs has also been banned, with the Commission naming Molly as an example. This illicit drug has been a topic of much discussion in the country for the past few months, as it seemingly became dominant in the party scene.
The Commission stated that the new directive was created to reinforce its commitment to keep the airwaves free of harmful content, as traditional media still plays an important role as an agent of socialisation. They warned that using public airwaves to broadcast songs promoting illegal activity may give the impression that criminality is an accepted feature of both Jamaican culture and society.
The Commission added that it could inadvertently foster moral decline and contribute to the normalisation of crime among impressionable and vulnerable youth.
Cordel Green, Executive Director of the Commission explained the regulatory body’s approach and process in creating the new directive and expounded on the necessity of their methodology.
“Part of the difficulty in dealing with music, especially that which emerges from a subculture, is that it takes time to identify, understand and verify the slangs and colloquial language used. Understandably, new street lingua may take some time before they are normalised, or their meanings become well entrenched. The Commission also has to be circumspect in its actions, knowing that regulatory attention can have the unintended consequence of giving exposure to and popularising subcultural phenomenon,” Green stated.
Read the Broadcasting Commission’s full media release below: